‘Indian Constitution gives the courage to speak…’: CJI Chandrachud
CJI DY Chandrachud said it cannot be forgotten that the Constitution has given the responsibility to bring about social, political and economic justice.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud on Saturday advised students and law graduates that a problem cannot be solved by remaining silent and it is imperative to discuss and speak it out.
Addressing the first convocation ceremony of Maharashtra National Law University in Nagpur, the CJI said the Constitution is a document that is home-grown, a product of self-governance, dignity, and independence. It gives the courage to speak, he said.
Everyone should uphold the values of the Indian Constitution while pursuing this noble profession (of law). It cannot be forgotten that the Constitution has given the responsibility to bring about social, political and economic justice. “We have to speak for these rights,” he said and added that if young law students and graduates are guided by Constitutional values, then they would not fail in this direction.
He asked the young lawyers to fearlessly champion the voice of change to achieve the goal of justice. “It is easy to find a million excuses to maintain the status quo as law by its nature is lethargic, but when you are at the crossroads don't hesitate to choose the path less travelled,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Former CJI Sharad Bobde, sitting SC judge Bhushan Gavai, Bombay HC Acting CJ Sanjay GA Gapurwala, VC Vijender Kumar and many legal luminaries were present on the dais.
Quoting his ruling which decriminalised homosexuality, Justice Chandrachud pointed out that much has been achieved but much more needs to be attained to do away with all forms of discrimination and archaic practices not tenable in contemporary society.
Exhorting the law graduates to treat the Constitution as the guide in their personal and professional lives, the CJI exhorted them to strive to realise lofty goals set by the founding fathers. “Don’t get discouraged by setbacks and adversity,” he said while quoting the example of architect of the Indian Constitution Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and how he overcame all seemingly difficult obstacles to become an icon for millions.
The success of the Indian Constitution is generally viewed from two diametrically ends of the spectrum. “Some people speak of our Constitution in entirely adulatory terms, while others are cynical of its success. The reality is neither here nor there," the CJI said.
As a government document, the potential of the Constitution is “informative”, he said and added, “When the Constitution is viewed from the context in which it emerged, it is nothing short of being remarkable.” The Constitution, Justice Chandrachud said, has made tremendous strides towards a more just and democratic society.
“But much work remains to be accomplished till we rest… The deep-rooted inequality, which fractured our society at the time of Independence, persists even today. The best and surest way to make this inequality a distant dream is to intrinsically apply the spirit of the Constitution in our society,” the chief justice of India said.
Justice Chandrachud also said lawyers should differentiate between justice and charity. “We can wipe away someone's pain for a moment by doing charity. But in doing this, we deprive him of his right to justice. Therefore, our fight should not be just charity, but to ensure that justice prevails," he said.
Referring to the Preamble, the CJI said it is a short but weighty party to the Constitution and added, "We the people of India give to ourselves this Constitution".
"This is immeasurably significant because it marks the transition of the people of India from the status of subjects to the status of citizens. The colonial masters did not bestow the Constitution upon us as an act of grace. Ours (Constitution) is a document that is home-grown...a product of self-governance, dignity, and independence," the CJI said.